This mysterious grave in a Roman Catholic cemetery in Harbour Grace has no names associated with it. The Telegram is asking for readers’ help to learn more about the grave. — Submitted photo
Telegram readers are already providing plenty of feedback and potential clues in relation to the existence of a mysterious grave located in a Harbour Grace cemetery.
On Wednesday, the paper published a picture of a grave with no names listed on it. It involves five grey, concrete surfaces. Two of them show a skull and crossbones, while others display lambs, crosses and an angel.
The photo was initially published in Tuesday’s edition of The Compass newspaper in relation to a story about a recent cleanup effort involving the local Knights of Columbus group and church parishioners. The oldest grave at the Roman Catholic cemetery on Bennett’s Lane dates back to 1802.
Here are some suggestions from readers about the grave’s possible history.
— Bernard Doyle: “Lamb — lamb of God or innocence. Cross — christianity. Angel — guide to heaven. Skull and crossbones — death, decay, mortality.”
— Sean: “I don't believe concrete would have been a common material for a headstone prior to the 20th century. Furthermore, the style — large inset square around the skull with column-like features on the sides look very art deco to me, which would suggest early 20th century, possibly 1920s or 30s.”
— Mike Kelly: “Cross bones below the skull vs. behind the skull could represent (the) Templar Knights (used the insignia to deter enemies). Freemason? Pirates were usually hung and not buried and given the significance of such a plot.”
— Joyce: “I have been telling people about the skull and crossbones headstone for years! A guy from the area told me that the symbol was there to tell people that the person buried in that spot had passed away from a disease (small pox if I remember correctly) so no one would dig up the grave looking for things.”
— Steve: “The stones were actually four sides and a cover about 50 years ago.”
— Phil Ryan: “I worked for the genealogical society in 1994 in the Placentia area. If I remember correctly there is a pirate grave in the Anglican cemetery in Placentia that has similar markings as this one. It also has the Jolly Roger on it. Skulls and angels were common on gravestones from that time.”
— John Pratt: “The use of the skull and crossbones motif on headstones and crypts seems pretty widespread. Last summer we visited the Roskilde Domkirke in Roskilde, Denmark. It is filled with the crypts of Danish royalty, while many more tombs lie under the floors. These crypts and tombs are thick with skulls and bones, and even full representations of skeletons.”
— Dianne Palmer: “Grew up in Harbour Grace, Bennett's Lane. There are only 10 houses in the lane, none of them as old as the graves. We played hide and seek in that graveyard but we were always fascinated with this particular grave.”
— Bob: “I say, ‘Dig 'em up.’”